Essay - Privatization of the Prison System and the Impact of the...


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PRIVATIZATION OF THE PRISON SYSTEM AND THE IMPACT ***** THE DIFFERENTIATION OF SENTENCING IN POWDER VERSUS CRACK COCAINE *****FENSE ***** ***** IMPACT ON AFRICAN AMERICAN OFFENDERS

I. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE POLICY

In 1986 and 1988, the U.S. Congress passed federal sentencing laws related to crack cocaine that differentiated the sentences imposed upon defendants in powder and ***** cocaine related offenses in what is known as ***** 'Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986'. These stricter sentencing guidelines were passed to address the emerging *****sue of crack cocaine which was perceived to be."..a social menace that ***** categorically different from powder cocaine in its physiological and psychotropic effects." Crack ***** is powder cocaine mixed with banking soda and then cooked in***** hard rocks, which are then broken up into smaller pieces ***** sold to those who use the drug by smoking it. Crack cocaine is cheaper than powder ***** and aroused great public concern when it first hit the streets in the United States. According ***** Alfred Blumstein of Carnegie Mellon University, as reported by Coyle (2002) in ***** work entitled: "Race and Class Penalties in Crack Coca*****e Sentencing" crack cocaine began as an innovation in the drug market "***** distribution rights and boundaries were apportioned amongst competitors with the use of violence." (*****, 2002) The follow*****g table relates the median street-level dealer drug quantities and m*****atory minimum imposed by ***** Anti-Drug Act of 1986.

Median Street-Level Drug Quantities and M*****atory Minimums

Drug

Median Drug Weight

Mandatory Minimum

Crack Cocaine

52 grams

10 years

Powder *****

340 *****

Source: Coyle (2002

***** created the United States Sentencing Commission in 1984 for ***** purpose ***** developing federal sentencing ***** for the purpose of bringing about a reduction of sentencing disparity. By 1994 in alliance with provisions set out ***** ***** Omnibus Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, the Commission was instructed to conduct a study relating to different penalties in *****- ***** crack-cocaine sentencing. The study lasted ***** duration of one year ***** recommendations by the Commission to ***** U.S. Congress ***** revise the crack/powder 100:1 sentencing disparity due to findings ***** due to the small differences in the two forms of cocaine that such sentencing disparities were not justifiable. Commission advised an equalization (1:1) ***** the quantity ratio that would require mandatory sentencing relating to the ***** forms of cocaine. Commission ***** included advisement that guidelines in ***** ***** should be based upon criteria other than the type of ***** for determination of ***** lengths of sentences. These recommendations ***** rejected by the U.S. Congress along with refusal ***** make changes to ***** law and ***** in fact the first such move ***** the history of the United ***** Sentencing Commission since its' *****mation. Once again, recommendations were made in April 1997 regarding ***** disparity in sentencing *****tween crack- ***** powder-cocaine that the differential ***** should be balanced through provision of a range ***** 2:1 to 15:1 for ***** to choose from among. This new recommendation "was based on both raising

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